The best form of marketing for your accounting firm isn’t TV, radio, or buying fancy laser-targeted Facebook ads. It’s word of mouth. And the best way to expand your word-of-mouth marketing is through quality networking. You can sharpen your networking skills by drawing on things you already know.
Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
When you meet someone new, do they walk away knowing who you are? Or more importantly, how you might be able to help them? Every face you encounter on the street belongs to a potential customer. You don’t want to let these chance encounters go to waste.
With the perfect elevator pitch, you can let a new acquaintance know in 15 to 20 seconds who you are and what you can do for them. What makes a good elevator pitch? It isn’t cheesy or salesy. It doesn’t come off like a jingle or tagline. Instead, it’s friendly and conversational, punchy, and even witty.
Use Your Organizational Skills
Without sharp organizational skills, it’s hard to be successful as an accountant. Being organized helps you not only balance books and decipher complex tax laws but also network and get new clients.
You’ve doubtless heard the adage, "Early is on time, on time is late, and late is left behind." That’s doubly true for an accountant attending a networking event. When you show up early, you have time to size up the situation and prepare to show people the best version of yourself.
Focus on What You Can Do for the Other Person
When talking to a prospect, or even having a casual conversation, focus on using the word "you" more than "I." When you continuously refer to yourself, the other person might get the impression you’re vain and self-centred, even if you’re genuinely trying to be helpful.
For instance, rather than saying, "I’m a CPA and own an accounting firm," opt for something like, "Your business is the type of company my accounting firm helps with taxes."
Honor Your Own Rhythm
Here, your "rhythm" refers to your body’s natural rhythm. Are you sluggish and groggy in the morning? Then try not to schedule or attend networking events at 8 a.m., when a thick layer of fog still coats your brain. If you’re the type who fades fast after 5 p.m., late night meet-and-greets might not be for you.
Now, be reasonable here. You shouldn’t forgo an event that could lead to a tremendous opportunity just because it doesn’t coincide with your peak performance hours. In general, though, try to put yourself out there at times when you have your A-game in tow.
Pay Attention to Details
Even if you spent only 30 seconds with someone in line at the coffee shop, just long enough to give your elevator pitch and exchange business cards, shoot them a quick email. Don’t try to sell them anything. Just let them know it was nice meeting them and you’re happy to connect with them.
Make sure also to add new acquaintances on social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram and Snapchat. Then, more importantly, engage with them. Post articles and tips you think your contacts might find useful. People start to see you as someone who’s a fount of information and isn’t stingy about revealing it. You become the go-to person they contact when in need.
Smart networking can grow your business faster than any form of paid marketing. And the best part is, it isn’t hard. As you can see, most good networking strategies draw on things you already know.